War for an Emperor: Chapter 1 - The Games of War

  • A dance this was. Left, right then backwards and forwards, my feet constantly moving in time to my partner’s, most certainly a dance. Though most that I've been involved with involved significantly fewer weapons, and I wore much looser clothing. Normal people I suppose would call this a battle, and that it was. With axes twirling, shields clashing, sparks flying and dust rising, it was just constant movement as I faced my opponent

    Armed with an axe as long as I was tall, and covered in Studded Armour that might have weighed twice as much as mine (and been twice as thick to make up for it), and of course, the bulging muscles I could see twitching every time he moved. Did I mention that this brute of a man stood a full two heads taller than me as well, just to make me feel a little more insignificant in this fight? A step to the side, followed by my opponent as I dodged and weaved through his blows, a single one could cause this fight to be over, but that may be the one benefit of my size, it is easy to duck inside his blade to strike at him before weaving around to dodge any elbows or knees he sent me. For you see, this brute for all his strength was one of the greatest fighters that I’d ever had the honour of facing.

    It wasn't long before the fight was over. The brute disarming me with a handy twist of his axe at the last moment, threatening to cut into my side if I didn't relinquish my weapon. Armed only with a shield, I had no hope of winning this fight, so naturally it was over.

    “Galmar my friend, again you have bested me, what is this 20-52 your way now?”

    “21-56 Bjorn, you know it as well as I do. Don’t you dare think that I forgot about your tally? But you’re getting better every time, for the first 30 fights it was 30-0, you’ve steadily picked up your pace since.”

    “Bah, you know I was letting you win Galmar as if you could’ve maintained a lead like that purely with your strength.”

    “Say what you will Bjorn, a win's a win”

    Neither of us could keep this up for much longer, and at nearly the same time we burst out laughing, drawing odd looks from the other fighters.

    “That it is Galmar, now, where we off to next, Archery training if I’m not mistaken. A place where I can enhance my 56-0 lead on you there”

    I couldn’t help but gloat at the fact that Galmar had never beaten me with a bow, for all his skill in battle he just couldn’t handle a bow if his life depended on it. And he looked as downtrodden about that as he always did, it almost made me feel bad about teasing him about it...Well not really.

    “One of these days I’ll beat you Bjorn you damn milk-drinker, a real Nord should be charging in, axe raised to deliver a splitting blow, but you hide back with your bow and carefully weigh in. Perhaps living with the Tree Elves would be more fitting for you”  And there was Galmar’s classic retort, it had been almost three days since he commented on my tendency to not charge in and die.

    “Yes, yes Galmar, charging in is always the best option, that way maybe an arrow could reach you faster than your axe could be raised. A brilliant observation again” And that’s my common response, we really need new arguments.

    Our conversation was disrupted by the bellowing voice of General Axius, the Imperial General stationed in Burma. A very proud Imperial looking man, I would say he is the very picture of the Legion and not be too far off. With clean cut hair, a shaven and clear face and stern eyes that simply bore through you, he simply is a clear cut Imperial. His voice reaches across the training yard, rising over the clashes of metal on metal and grunts of pain.

    “Alright Recruits, front and center asap. The Dominion is not going to wait for you milk-drinkers to grow their beards and chat about the weather. This is preparation for War, so prepare for War we will.”

    Turning to Galmar and me, General Axius draws our attention as he holds out a red sash.

    “Recruit Galmar, you have been selected as General of the Imperial Armies for the War Games this eve. As you no doubt know this is a great honour bestowed upon you, and I order you to do the Third Legion of Burma proud. You will win tonight boy, is that understood”

    Snapping to attention, Galmar looks positively overjoyed as he almost shouts back

    “Yes Sir, consider the First and Second Legions as good as beaten sir. I refuse to allow them victory tonight sir.”

    --------

    Later during the day we all 250 of convened in the War Rooms, a large circular room, with a massive table in the middle, covered in flags and figures of different colours, each representing one of the three Bruma Legions. As the last recruit entered the door, Galmar closed it and began talking.

    “Alright men, while many of us have participated in War Games before, I notice at least two new faces within this crowd, so I’ll  just go over the general aim and reason for them.”

    “The War Games are the Legion’s attempt to prepare all of us for the real war. They involve various scenarios that mimic real events of war, or non-deadly equivalents. The most common scenario and the one we will be going over  tonight is a simple Siege. We have to lay waste to two enemy castles while they try and take ours. Now are there any questions about how this works...No, good moving on.”

    I did notice a younger recruit, a young lass of around 20 starts to raise her hand, before dropping it quickly as Galmar finished his sentence. I strode towards her, before raising my hand and calling out to Galmer.

    “Oy you big brute, you have to give people time to answer the question before moving on. This little recruit has a question for you”

    The young girl looked more than a little embarrassed, and possibly a little ticked off at me drawing attention to her. And Galmer, well he just looked plain sheepish.

    “Ah, sorry there lass, sorry what’s the name and what was your question.”

    She hesitated a little before speaking, which gave me a chance to look her over a little. She was of average height (which means a head taller than me) and a slimmer build than most people here. Her light auburn hair was tied back tightly, and although it does make me feel a little weird for noticing it, she was definitely a fair bit prettier than most of the women I’d seen around Bruma.

    “The name is Rikke sir and my question is just a quick one, but how do we know the end of the battle. Is there a signal or a time limit or something.”

    “Well Rikke” Galmar responded, “There is no time limit whatsoever, we fight until we win, even if it takes us days. The signal for defeating an enemy is simply burning the flag above their fort, simple as that.”

    Rikke nodded towards Galmar, before stepping back and allowing him to continue. Walking back towards the War Table, Galmar started going over the plan.

    “Alright recruits, the plan for tonight is simple. We’re going to be dividing the army up into 5 different portions, each led by a Commander. The first and second groups, A and B, will be attacking the stronghold of the First Legion, who usually play defensively to hopefully stop them from sending out other forces out to attack us. The commanders of Teams A and B will be…”

    Galmar paused to look around at the recruits, glancing at each Recruit before eventually settling his eyes on two people...Namely, Rikke and myself.

    “Rikke, Bjorn, you two seem capable enough, though I am a little unsure about shorty there. You two can lead Teams A and B on the offense.”

    Rikke appeared to be overjoyed, eerily similar to Galmar’s state when he was given the Sash earlier. I simply nodded towards Galmar and approached closer to the War Table before explaining my plan.

    “We’ll take our forces around the West and East, pincer them in before slowly rotating towards the gate in order to keep them there. My team will provide covering fire while Rikke creates a shield wall. Any problems with that Rikke?”

    “No sir, Bjorn. The plan seems reasonable” Rikke uttered in response.

    “Fine plan Bjorn. Now, Teams C and D shall be led by myself, and Justianus shall meet the Second Legion’s forces wherever they come from. While Team E shall simply defend the fort. Prepare moats and traps if you can but don’t worry too much about it. Better to just keep them out. After Teams Justianus and myself finish off the Second Legion, we’ll rush towards the First’s Fort to help you two take it. This is it recruits, time to win ourselves a War.”

    --------

    As evening struck, the three Legions gathered outside Cloud Ruler Temple, just at the base of the mountain in order to begin the Games. The area was naturally dark, but the Forts were all visible in the distance, standing a good 30 metres tall 20 across its four walls. They were made out of sample materials. Wood and Concrete that our Mages could easily assemble in a mere three hours, but they’d never stand up to proper siege equipment.

    As we march towards our assigned Fortresses, Galmer beckons a hand to let Rikke, Justianus and myself over to him.

    “I feel good about tonight. Almost like Talos himself is guiding our battle. Rikke, Bjorn, how would to two like for an alteration to the plan. I think that the two of you will be able to storm through the gate quicker than we can get there. It is a risky plan, but you two can pull it off.”

    I glance at Rikke, and she looks as nervous about that plan as I feel. As much as I hate to admit it we are the weakest group. An altered defensive team that’s designed to stall, not attack.

    “Galmar, no offense but that plan is horrible. Rikke and I form a defensive barrier, that’s what we were put together to do. Attacking would leave the Fort to open, and allow the First Legion to destroy us while most of our forces are off somewhere else. We’ll stick to our original plan the whole way through.”

    “I agree with Bjorn sir, it’s just too risky for us to be involved in a straight up attack this early”

    With Rikke in agreement, Galmar hesitates and began to talk.

    “Alright, it’s your team, I picked the two of you to defend so defend you will. Keep the First bolted up in that fort alright. I trust you to hold them for at least 3 hours alright. After that, we should be able to get through to you.”

    With that final word from Galmar and organise the army into the 5 forces. Galmar once again goes over the plan with everyone. Making sure we’re ready to attack or defend as our station demands and then, the sky is lightened by fire as the signal to begin is launched.

    --------

    As we marched across the field, with only moonlight washing over us I couldn’t help but feel that something was...off about tonight. Everything was, well simply quiet. Animals couldn’t be heard, there were no signs or sounds to show the battles waging on and it was just quiet.

    We neared closer and closer to the First Legion’s fortress, golden flag waving to represent the Aldmeri Dominion, and yet no sounds of movement and no visible defenders. It was just, a very odd thing for the First Legion to do. In the 25 War Games, we’ve played, they have only attacked directly once and that cost them their most decisive loss to date.

    We stopped just within shooting distance of the Fort and started to get into position. Rikke and her troops formed a formidable shield wall in front of us. To protect from any arrows sent our way by the still unseen defenders. While my archers formed a loose formation behind her, ready to fire when needed. And we held here for an hour, an entire hour without seeing the enemy is unheard of in War Games, especially using our current strategy. It was getting odd.

    “Rikke, we’re going to attack. I know we told Galmar that we weren’t going to, but we haven’t seen or heard them in an hour. They’ve probably gone off to attack either us or the Second.”

    “Alright. I’ll get the troops ready.”

    Our 100 soldier army marched towards the First Legion’s Fort, every single recruit looked incredibly nervous, and for good reason. This was just an insanely odd scenario, the First Legion having a weaker defense, or even possibly going on the attack. Just plain wrong.

    We quickly broke through the main gate, still seeing no resistance at all.

    “Rikke, grab four of your troops and bring them over here. We’re going to leave the majority down here while we scale the fort to burn their flag. “

    Rikke immediately ran back to gather the troops without a single word. As the five of them returned to me, I started a brisk jog up the steps to the top of the fort, keeping an eye out for enemies along the way. The entire place seemed clear until we reached the final room where the flag was stored. Up there, was what I can only assume to be the entire First Legion’s defense, all seven of them.

    3 of them were armed with massive swords and axes and dressed in Heavy Plate while the other four seemed to be an odd mix of warriors, all armed to the teeth with swords and carrying massive shields as well. Rikke and four of her warriors immediately charged in, drawing their weapons and starting for their enemies. The last of her warriors stood back with me and drew a bow.

    The first attack was made by one of the Greatsword wielders, who immediately tried to strike down Rikke, both the Archer with me and I nocked an arrow and fired at him, stopping his movement so Rikke could knock him out with her shield. As this was happening, I noticed two of Rikke’s men being taken down by the dagger fighters, who fought in an incredibly strange manner, lashing out with their shields as weapons and deflecting and parrying with their swords. A fairly effective strategy that was causing a bit of trouble with the others.

    As I examined the battle, one of the remaining Heavily Armoured fighters charged towards me, swinging his axe out at me and cutting my bow in half, a quick jab with one of the broken ends caught me a little time to pull out my axe. A quick duel took place then, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of my battle with Galmar earlier. Every swing of his mighty axe lead to a dodge from me, weaving in and out of his blows while trying to get in a good strike, his armour as heavy as it must have been, easily blocked out the hasty strikes I could get out. Then the fight ended as quickly as it started, a shield struck out from behind me, knocking me into unconsciousness.

    --------

    After taking down my first opponent, I immediately lashed out towards one of the Shield users. Our shields clashed in an explosion of sound and sparks, the same shield came wrapping around my arm, halting any movement I could make with my left arm. A shield lock on my left, and a deadly duel of swords with my right as strikes were sent high and low, towards my arms and head, the only thing that kept me in the fight was my heavy armour as I moved  into position to absorb the blows. I ended that fight quickly with my third counter, a chop to his shield arm breaking the lock he established and then lashing out with my shield. A third opponent quickly fell in a similar manner, with my shield breaking through his quick defense and knocking him straight out.

    The sounds of fighting had stopped then. I looked around the small room, now littered with unconscious bodies and I realised that only myself and two of our troops were still conscious, their foes now lying still. Bjorn was knocked over in the corner, with shattered pieces of wood sticking out of his arms and lying around him, he was easily the most damaged out of every fighter. As I was helping to bandage his wounds, I got one of the other recruits, Sorrunus I think, to go deal with the First Legion’s flag while the other helped me to take care of our fallen comrades.

    A piercing sound rang out across the field. I noticed the others relaxing and assumed that this was the end of the battle. Whether we’d won or lost would be decided by the fate of Galmar, against possibly the entire First and Second Legions

    --------

    An aching throb was what I woke up to, that and an ache in my arms that wouldn’t go away no matter what I did. Galmar was laid down in a bed just beside mine while Rikke sat between the two of us, head bowed and eyes shut, asleep I’d assume. I was hardly going to wake Galmar and her up, so silence blanketed the room.

    I do wonder what ended up happening during the War Games. I know I was knocked out and that’s about it. Did Rikke and I manage to win that fight or did we end up losing. Galmar obviously was injured at some point, but I have no idea whether or not he won us the game. Knowing him he probably won after being knocked unconscious or something equally ridiculous, well I guess I would have done the same. Ah well, whatever happened, happened, it’s time for sleep now.

    --------

    A piercing light woke me up. Ruining a perfectly good dream about the Legion defeating the Dominion with the help of Magic Goblins, ah good times. Dreams aside I did have to check if Galmar or Rikke were awake. A quick glance told me that Galmar wasn’t just awake, but he was long gone, probably out to train in the early morning. I quickly dressed and left, leaving a note in case Galmar came by to check on me before heading to the training grounds. As expected, Galmar was indeed there, training with someone that I didn’t really expect. There he was in a fight with Rikke and Justianus, taking the two of them on at the same time.

    His axe twirling around him, constantly delivering crushing blows against their shields, stopping any attempt they made at countering. I couldn’t help but gape in awe at him, although we’d fought multiple times I’d never really seen him fight like this, by Talos I’d never even just watched him fight. As large and powerful as he was his blows were quick and precise, showing a certain skill that was completely awe-inspiring. Rikke and that Justianus fellow were both skilled but simply weren’t on Galmar’s level. With a powerful slash, Galmar disarmed Rikke before pulling through and taking out Justianus’ sword, ending the battle in just 10 short seconds.

    “Galmar, by Talos I’ve never seen you fight like that. Is that how you usually fight against me or are they just special?"

    “Oh, you’re finally up Bjorn. I always fight like that, why do you think people are shocked that you can dodge my strikes so easily? Anyway, come let’s sit down and talk about the War Games last night, you missed a lot after you let yourself be beaten by those First Legion weaklings.”

    Galmar finished that with a hearty chuckle before moving away from the training grounds to grab us all a seat. Rikke and Justianus followed, both limping and more than a little-tired looking.

    “Right, so after I got knocked out what happened? Did you manage to pull through with a win?”

    “Relax Bjorn, I’ll answer your questions, no need to rush through them so much. Well first of all the Games ended shortly afterwards according to Rikke, she’d carried you downstairs and then it ended. On my side of the things, it wasn’t easy but we took out the Second Legion, or, at least, the 150 that had come on offense. There were probably only a dozen of us conscious or in a decent fighting shape. We would never have been able to fight the First Legion, and luckily for us, they’d attacked the Second with most of their forces. After we retreated to the fort they’d managed to take out the Second Legion but that was when Rikke had lit the flag. We would never have been able to survive the rest of the First Legion. So yes, we did win and it was pretty much all thanks Rikke there.”

    “G..Galmar I didn’t do that much. It was mostly Bjorn’s idea to attack when we did. I...was just, um going to wait..” Rikke blushingly stumbled through her sentence.

    “Bah Rikke, I didn’t do much except get knocked out. Take some credit for what you’ve done. We won the War Games for the first time in 3 months and it’s thanks to you. Well, I guess Justianus here can take some of the credit. Oh and Galmar too”

    “Oy what’s that supposed to mean Bjorn. At least, the rest of us didn’t get knocked out along the way. Only a milk-drinker like you would get knocked out so easily.”

    As we sat around joking I felt a certain sense of belonging. We were meant to be here, with each other. It just felt right. The Third Legion were a close group and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That, of course was when General Axius strode across to us, and we received one final order for the day. Tomorrow we would be reporting to him directly at dawn, for our first day of Special Training.

Comments

14 Comments
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  January 3, 2016
    Glad you liked it Exuro, especially the battle scenes, I really wasn't sure how they were going. 
    I'll fix that up soon, thanks for pointing it out
  • Exuro
    Exuro   ·  January 3, 2016
    It's great seeing the origins of Galmar and Rikke, and the battle scenes were really well thought out. Looking forward to more!

    One sentence sounded rough:
    Later during the day we all 250 [change to: all 250 of us] of convened in
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  January 3, 2016
    You're a mountain of a man! Thanks for that link mate
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  January 3, 2016
    I'm having trouble linking it for some reason (It's from Reddit if that affects anything) 
    https://www.reddit.com/r/skyrim/comments/18c2ui/list_of_all_the_race_heights_in_feet/
    Considering I'm as tall as your Rugby playing friend I might consi...  more
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  January 2, 2016
    Could you re-link to that chart? I think it may be broken but from what you said could be an excellent RP resource
    5'11" is my height. You calling me short DB?  I had a friend who was a rugby player and stood 6'3". He was a giant next to me and cou...  more
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  January 1, 2016
    Thanks Phil  
    Sorry if the height thing was a bit vague, a head isn't exactly a precise measurement
    Keep in mind I'll be using this height chart to get the base Height of Nords,  so considering Bjorn is shorter than Rikke (who is standard 6'3"...  more
  • Paws
    Paws   ·  January 1, 2016
    Nicely written DB. So how tall is Bjorn exactly?
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  December 29, 2015
    Ah thanks for that, glad you liked it, next chapter should come out in a week or so (depending on when I start writing it).
    As for honour, your just going to have to bare my non-American English (sorry I guess, really just can't help it). 
  • Lyall
    Lyall   ·  December 29, 2015
    This looks really good, can't wait for the next chapter!
    In the second paragraph, towards the end, honor is misspelled honour.
  • Dragonborn2121
    Dragonborn2121   ·  December 28, 2015
    Ah, that's good then. If the changes are clear I'll change that quickly 
    Thanks for straightening my worries out. I think I'm just going to have to get used to writing stories